A self driving car from http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UdDbkh0tHzQ/ULAKlpij_UI/AAAAAAAADPI/r66fdyU6nck/s1600/Google-Self-Driving-Car-Nevada-USA-2012.jpg

I had, for a long time, believed that driving was one of the leading causes of preventable death, but a Quora post made me realize that driving kills about 30,000 people per year in the US, which is much smaller than I had thought.

I did some math (below) and found that there is about a 1 in 200 chance of the average driver dying due to driving their car.

Ursula Le Guin - A Wizard of Earthsea

"A Wizard of Earthsea" may come off as following the traditional archetype of a wizard coming of age in wizarding school and fighting evil, but there are quite a few things that make it unique.

For one, when Le Guin wrote the book, that wasn't an archetype. Young adult fantasy didn't really exist then.

Jim Butcher - Cold Days

In the previous 13 Dresden Files books, the events were enjoyable, but they seemed disparate. There were epic conflicts involving faeries, necromancers, vampires, werewolves, crime lords, angels, demons, gods, wizards councils, evil islands, random individuals, and Harry Dresden, but there wasn't a sense that those were all connected. There were also a couple of things that Butcher had been foreshadowing for many books. With a couple of exceptions, "Cold Days" brings it all together.

Peter V. Brett - The Desert Spear

At the end of "The Warded Man," there are two questions: "what's happening with the Krasians, the people in the southern desert?" and "how will the protagonists mobilize the world to fight demons?" "The Desert Spear" answers both of these questions.

The book starts by describing some Krasian history, shedding light on some of the characters that we learned about in the first book. Their culture is much more foreign than the other cultures we're exposed to in the books, and Brett does a decent job of showing their value system.

Awkward Ad Placements

My Emails are Famous!

A designer made a slide deck (http://www.slideshare.net/storyviz/purins-tips-on-visual-design). If you look at page 99, you'll see one of my emails. Hah!

In my defense, emailing out images and PDFs is a bad user experience for the readers (especially readers on phones or people who use screen readers). Plain text for the win!


"Skyfall" is the 23rd Bond film. Wow.

It was a little light on the gadgets -- no invisible cars or exploding pens. Then again, that was also a part of the plot.

Wreck It Ralph

"Wreck It Ralph" is about a video game villain who wants to be a hero.

I enjoyed that it had a bunch of different styles of humor. Jane Lynch has the same extreme and rambling style of humor as she does on Glee, whereas Sarah Silverman's style is more ironic and slapstick. There were also some dramatic elements. It's a little nostalgia inducing, though not as much as I expected. There was also a little attention to class issues.

Overall, fun for all ages.

A Whisper to a Roar

"A Whisper to a Roar" was inspired by one of my professors, Larry Diamond. The basic thesis of the movie was that power corrupts, so we don't need populist leaders, but rather populist political structures, to ensure that the state represents people's interests.

The Queen of Versailles

"The Queen of Versailles" is a riches to rags (well... super duper riches to mere super riches?) story of David Siegel, who made his money (hundreds of millions, I think) off of the biggest timeshare company in the world, and his family. Versailles is their attempt to make the biggest house in America. Due to decreased liquidity in the market after the financial crash, he started having financial troubles (still leaving him easily in the 1%).


Subscribe to Sam King's Verbose Letters RSS